NOTE: As you know, I don’t usually review or discuss religious material on this site, but as part of my agreement to review a book and the circumstances outlined below, I did choose a book that is specific to my beliefs.
There is a story behind why I picked this book.
Recently, my husband and I have been volunteering as table leaders at a premarital class that our church offers as part of the TwoTogether in Texas program (the class is called Merge, if you are interested, there is another one starting in spring if you are engaged or seriously dating or know someone who is).
In December we will have been married for 5 years, and this class has been a great reminder to us on all the principles taught in the class: communication/conflict resolution, finances, expectations/in-laws, roles of each partner, spiritual intimacy, and of course, sex.
One of the areas we realized we’ve really fallen down on is the spiritual aspect of our marriage. We used to read a lot of books together that prompted conversations on spirituality and prayer, but after the first year or so, Christian got to where he really didn’t like the books we were reading. I did not know what he would like so I quit trying to find stuff and we quit reading things at all.
So! Right when I heard about BookSneeze, we were deciding that we needed to pick a new book to read together. That’s where this book comes in.
The format of the book is numbered Days (Day 1, Day 2, etc). I like that it numbers the days rather than having dates (January 1, January 2, etc) like some other daily reading books we’ve had. When you have dates, what do you do when you miss a day or days?? Do you just not read those days? Or do you read the next date in order, and then by March you are still in February? Or what if you start in the middle of the year – do you start in the middle of the book? Anyway, none of those issues with this book’s arrangement.
Each day there is a passage of the bible that you read on the top half of the page, and then a short discussion of the passage beneath it on the other half of the page. We both liked this length of scripture passage. Our last book had only 1-2 verses and then used the rest of the page for a “devotional”. We felt like that made it really easy for the author of the book to take those 1-2 verses out of context, and made what the author had to say overwhelm the scripture itself.
Another thing we like is the style of the discussion. Most daily reading books we’ve seen have used “cutesy” stories that, again, kind of stretched the scripture reading out of context and really drew more attention to the author’s personal life or writing style than talking about the bible. We like how this book focuses on scripture and exactly what it says.
Finally, the other books and programs I’ve used have had “discussion questions” at the end of the daily reading. We actually like that this one does not have questions. We read this at night and at the end of the day, I tend to be half asleep and give sarcastic answers to “discussion questions”. Mostly because they are usually kind of sunday school questions (i.e. “What does God say about how we love people?” to which I would answer “Uh, He says WE SHOULD DO IT. Good night!”). What this book does is quote the bible and explain what you just read, so that if you want to discuss it – great! You can discuss it on your own. Or you can go to sleep.
Overall, I would recommend this book for someone looking to get into a daily reading program. Either that or, Join the Journey. I do that too, on my own. But it does have “discussion questions”…
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of “A Year With God” by R.P. Nettelhorst in exchange for this review.